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Lt. Col. Darel Dean Leetun - MIA

Darel Dean Leetun
Hettinger, ND
County: Adams
Vietnam - MIA
Date of Disappearance: September 17, 1966 / Age: 42
Branch of Service: Air Force

Hostile, died while missing, FIXED WING - PILOT

Listed as deceased Mar 12, 1975
Body was recovered in 2005

The Air Force Cross is presented to Darel Dean Leetun, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force over North Vietnam on 17 September 1966.

On that date, Captain Leetun led a flight of F-105 Thunderchiefs against a heavily defended high priority target near Hanoi. Undaunted by intense and accurate flak, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and hostile MiGs, Captain Leetun led his flight through this fierce environment to the crucial target.

On the bomb run, Captain Leetun's Thunderchief was hit by hostile fire, becoming a flaming torch and nearly uncontrollable; however, Captain Leetun remained in formation and delivered his high-explosive ordnance directly on target.

After bomb release, Captain Leetun's plane went out of control and was seen to crash approximately 10 miles from the target area.

Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Leetun reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.